Presidents and the Economy

So is the president responsible for the accelerating recovery? No. Can we nonetheless say that we’re doing better than we would be if the other party held the White House? Yes. Do those who were blaming Mr. Obama for all our economic ills now look like knaves and fools? Yes, they do. And that’s because they are.

via Presidents and the Economy – NYTimes.com.

Nice summation of a basic rant re: Obama.  Now that Obama has achieved all of the economic goals of the Republicans in the 2012 election one would think there would be a chastised tone coming from the folks who were so terribly wrong.

However, because our media system does a fantastically horrible job of educating the populace about reality, the GOP has actually gained seats based on the results their constituents *believe* Obama has gotten, which have very little in common with the actual results.

Anyway, it’s a fun dynamic to watch, although a tad bit frustrating from the rational actor viewpoint.

Some of the best and worst things make the least sense, it would seem

Shot in the head less than a week ago, U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords opened her eyes briefly for the first time Wednesday, with her husband, her parents and other members of Congress in the room.

“It was extraordinary,” said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-New York, who was holding Giffords’ hand at the time. “It was a miracle to witness.”

The incident occurred shortly after President Barack Obama had visited Giffords in her hospital room. Less than an hour later, given permission to disclose the information by Mark Kelly, Giffords’ husband, Obama electrified a memorial-service crowd and a national television audience by revealing one of the most promising pieces of news about Gifford’s condition to emerge since an assassination attempt against her on Saturday.

Giffords was squeezing and stroking Gillibrand’s hand, as doctors previously said she had been able to do.

“She took a moment to focus, you could see she was focusing,” Gillibrand said. “And then Mark said … ‘Gabby, if you can see me, if you can see me, give us a thumbs-up … She didn’t only give a thumbs-up, she literally raised her entire hand. We were just — we couldn’t stop crying … It was just one of those moments that life brings you so rarely.”

But Giffords didn’t stop there, Gillibrand said. She reached out and grabbed her husband “and is touching him and starts to really choke him like she was really trying to hug him.” He asked her to touch his wedding ring, “and she touches his ring, then she grabs his whole watch and wrist and then the doctor was just so excited, he said, ‘You don’t understand … this is amazing what she is doing right now and beyond our greatest hopes.’ ”

[full story]

And no, my friends, wonders will never cease.

Egypt’s majority Muslim population stuck to its word Thursday night. What had been a promise of solidarity to the weary Coptic community, was honoured, when thousands of Muslims showed up at Coptic Christmas eve mass services in churches around the country and at candle light vigils held outside. (see photo gallery)From the well-known to the unknown, Muslims had offered their bodies as “human shields” for last night’s mass, making a pledge to collectively fight the threat of Islamic militants and towards an Egypt free from sectarian strife.

“We either live together, or we die together,” was the sloganeering genius of Mohamed El-Sawy, a Muslim arts tycoon whose cultural centre distributed flyers at churches in Cairo Thursday night, and who has been credited with first floating the “human shield” idea.

[full story]

No matter how bad the crazy gets, they can’t beat all of us.

Existing home sales soar 8% in April

http://money.cnn.com/2010/05/24/real_estate/existing_home_sales/?postversion=2010052412

“The upswing in April existing-home sales was expected because of the tax credit inducement, and no doubt there will be some temporary fallback in the months immediately after it expires, but other factors also are supporting the market,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “For people who were on the sidelines, there’s been a return of buyer confidence with stabilizing home prices, an improving economy and mortgage interest rates that remain historically low.”

Nobody buys a house when they are dropping in price, if they can help it. Now that prices have bottomed, you’ll see a lot more people buying, even without stimulus money.

UPDATE: It’s going to be a pretty touch and go housing market for a while.  There’s sooo much inventory out there, not only peope underwater, but foreclosures as well as regular turnover.  It’s almost like we’ll need an influx of 10,000,000 or so new legal citizens, now able to buy homes as they have recongized legal status, to help take up the slack. 

I wonder where we could find them….

It should also be noted that the NAR (National Association of Realtors) is *always* going to try and paint a cozy, cutest house on the block, picture of the market.